Wigan’s inconsistencies on the road reared their ugly head again, as they slumped to a 3-1 reverse at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium, looking second-best throughout. The result leaves Wigan in 4th as Stoke climb to 7th.
Stoke City 3 – 1 Wigan Athletic
Britannia Stadium. Premier League
Saturday 8th December 2012
Real-Time FM manager GS is still waiting for his first win for Real-Time FM with his Wigan side falling short at Stoke City. GS made one enforced change to his side from the 0-0 with West Ham, Franco di Santo replacing the suspended Arouna Kone. As expected pre-match, the FA confirmed that Kone’s sending-off at the DW Stadium last week will carry a three-match suspension. Al-Habsi in goal; Ramis and Caldwell at centre-back, Boyce and new signing Sergio Garcia as full-backs; across the midfield were Beausejour, McArthur, Gómez, and Klein from left to right; Franco Di Santo and John Guidetti up-front.
Stoke showed their intentions from the kick-off, immediately attacking and forcing a good save from Al-Habsi inside twenty seconds. A little over a minute later and they were ahead through Jonathan Walters. Crouch doubled the lead five minutes before the break following a period of pressure where Stoke also rattled the crossbar. Di Santo finished tidily in stoppage time to lift Wigan going into the break against the run of play.
The early goal was mirrored in the second-half with Wigan sloppy to start the half, and punished with Peter Crouch nodding home unmarked to restore the two-goal cushion. Wigan made three rolls of the dice over the course of the 90, Jordi Gomez looking lightweight in the middle, and Beausejour ineffective up the left. Manuel Figueroa came off second-best in a fair injury-time challenge and left the field on a stretcher as Wigan finished with 10 men. Post-match assessment revealed that the ankle injury looked likely to sideline the left-back until February.
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2′ WALTERS has fired Stoke in front after just 100 seconds. Crouch and N’Zonzi linkup well and feed the striker who drills low from 15yrds.
21′ First yellow of the day is flashed by Andre Marriner at Wigan CB Ivan Ramis after clattering Walters wide on the left. Still 1-0 Stoke.
28′ Dean Whitehead really should have doubled Stoke’s lead after robbing Garcia in the area, but fired high and wide.
32′ Mackie’s header hits crossbar, bounces down on the line and is scrambled away for a corner. Stoke outmuscling Wigan all over the park.
33′ Wigan making a change, McArthur being replaced by Ian Evatt as the visitors move to shore up the backline.
39′ CROUCH doubles the lead after a Wigan counter breaks down. Walters bisects the centre-backs and the mangiraffe slots past Al-Habsi.
45+1′ DI SANTO grabs one back for Wigan after being played in by Guidetti to half the deficit. It’s a neat finish, but Wigan have work to do.
HT Second roll of the dice for Wigan who trail 2-1 at the break, Manuel Figueroa replacing an ineffective Beausejour on the Latics’ left.
46′ Forty seconds on the clock in the second-half and Peter CROUCH restores the two-goal cushion. Cross from the right straight on his head.
Meanwhile, Swansea are 3-0 up at Southampton after Bardachow has scored a brace of goals… at the wrong end.
59′ Ben Watson comes on for Jordi Gomez in the centre of midfield as Wigan use their third substitute, chasing 3-1.
61′ Huth goes right through the back of Guidetti in the middle of the park and earns Stoke’s first booking, the second of the game.
69′ Both Wigan centrebacks now on a yellow after Ian Evatt trips John Walters. Wigan looking dangerous through the middle now though.
75′ Crouch evens up the cautions at two apiece. End to end stuff, but no clear cut chances.
93′ Wigan finishing the match with 10 men after Figueroa hobbles off. Stoke deserve this two-goal lead. Wigan look short on ideas all game.
Full Time: Stoke City 3-1 Wigan Athletic. Crouch double the difference with the home side dominating throughout. Stoke up to 7th, Wigan 4th.
In the post-match press conference, Wigan manager GS rued that his side conceded very early goals in both halves. Figueroa injury looks bad.
Wigan’s next match is on Saturday 15th December at home to the champions Manchester City, who currently lie 2nd. Across the league, the Merseyside derby finished goalless at Goodison Park, while Spurs hammed Sunderland 5-1 at White Hart Lane to condemn Martin O’Neill to being the league’s first managerial casualty of the season.